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43 Ways to Show Gratitude and Instantly Have a Better Life

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Do you remember a time when you expressed gratitude to someone for their support, help, or just being there for you?

How did you feel at that moment? Probably awesome, right?

Is there a time in your life when someone gave you something, something you did not buy or ask for – just to show their appreciation? I bet that also felt good too.

Here’s the thing with gratitude though. The person you’re showing gratitude to actually benefits you more than they do. Your desire for more will decrease when you feel thankful, grateful, and content with your own life and experiences. It will make you feel more satisfied with what you have already achieved and where you are in life.

With that in mind, here are 43 ways to show gratitude and instantly have a better life.

Table of Contents

1. Put a picture in a frame.

Consider a photo that brings back positive memories for both you and the person you wish to express gratitude to. You might find it overly sentimental, but consider framing the memory for both of you to relive when you gaze at it.

It is important to remember that photo frames are not always used for preserving images. Diplomas or other important documents that symbolize a milestone in a person’s life may also be framed. As a gift to help them remember an important event, a photo frame will help them look back on that moment with pride and will be a reminder of your gift to them.

Other memories from people’s lives can also be preserved using photo frames. Flower petals, for example, are often preserved in a photo frame by crafty individuals. The frames can even be used to display your child’s best artwork.

Whatever you choose to frame, researchers found that people with positive memories are more likely to enjoy life when they recall and savor them. Compared with those who did not reminisce or actively engage in reliving happy experiences, those with an intentional practice reported greater happiness and satisfaction.

2. Listen actively.

It’s easy for us to only listen half-heartedly to our loved ones with so many things demanding our attention. However, by active listening, we mean paying attention, understanding, and remembering what is being said.

You can express your gratitude to someone by making them feel truly heard, especially if they have been a good listener to you before. As a result, active listening can improve many aspects of your life. Through building trust, active listening can positively influence your social life, work, and relationships.

3. Describe how you appreciate someone in detail.

Cite an example of something someone has done or said on your behalf to explain why you are grateful for their presence in your life. As a result of this prosocial behavior, your relationship quality will improve.

A healthy relationship is one of the keys to a satisfied life. There is a lower risk of physical and mental illness among them. Additionally, you can feel less alone and more valued when you have healthy relationships.

4. Write them a letter.

A gratitude letter can be incredibly beneficial to the person who writes it and to the person who receives it. According to a 2015 study, gratitude letters can be an effective therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

When things are written down, they are more likely to be consolidated and processed by the mind. In other words, your gratitude can be amplified when you write it down.

Consider writing a letter to someone special, yourself, or even things that make you grateful. The feelings of gratitude can be heightened when you write a letter to tell someone how much they mean to you. Plus, it will only cost you your time.

In today’s instant communication world, receiving a letter via snail mail might feel special and refreshing.

5. Volunteer.

Giving back to others in one’s community is one of the keys to having more gratitude. You will not only become more appreciative of the things you take for granted, but studies have shown that volunteering to help others will also improve your own well-being. In turn, you will be more grateful to yourself.

Martin Seligman, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, supports this theory in Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being. Volunteering was found to be the single most reliable and effective way to improve our well-being after he tested all varieties of variables.

6. Be enthusiastic.

You shouldn’t be afraid to use hyperbole when appropriate. You can demonstrate your gratitude with extra enthusiasm if you want to convey the extent of your gratitude to a friend or relative.

A phrase like “ Thanks for making my day!” or “You’re a lifesaver!” speaks louder than a simple thank you.

7. Give them the freedom to choose.

Are you always debating about things like what restaurant to go to on your next date night, what movie to watch, or how to reward your colleagues?

One day or night, let them make all the choices. No matter how baffling some of them may seem, this is a fun and simple way to express your gratitude. Besides, in addition to reducing decision fatigue, this might broaden your horizons.

8. Live with integrity.

“Gratitude is a choice,” says Sally Gillam, DNP, MAHS, RN, NEA-BC. In doing what is right and ethical, it is anchored in a sharing of values. “When you elect to make everyday decisions using a personal model of unwavering integrity and compassion, life is always seen as good. It may not always be easy, but it is always the right path.”

  • Make the right contribution to the team the first thing you do in the morning.
  • Make sure you have a shared value system, so others know that you value them.
  • Ensure that you and those around you do the right thing at all times.

9. Make a gift of seeds, flowers, or a plant from your garden.

This gift shows that it doesn’t cost a lot of money to show someone you appreciate them. The most important thing is that they will think of you each time they care for the plant or flower.

10. Donate your time to unpleasant projects.

Offer to help with a chore or errand. It makes someone’s day easier when you do these tasks for them. For example, if your spouse can’t stand cleaning the bathroom, doing the dishes, or filing taxes, volunteer to do so.

This is a simple way to make them exclaim, “YES! ” And that will make you feel like a million bucks in return.

11. Enjoy a mindful walk.

You may think it’s cliche to “stop and smell the roses.” But getting outside can be beneficial to your mental health, especially if it is done regularly.

Among the cognitive benefits of spending time in nature are the following:

  • Memory and mood are improved.
  • Stress reduction.
  • A greater sense of compassion.

Take note of a few things that bring you joy while on a nature walk, such as:

  • The scent of a blooming flower
  • Listening to birds
  • Sunrises or sunsets

You can ground yourself by giving thanks to your physical surroundings.

12. Publicize it.

Maybe you should consider changing up your usual format and going public with your gratitude. You can express gratitude in a variety of ways to make your words more powerful.

There are many ways to go beyond a simple direct message, whether you shout out your colleague in a company-wide channel or highlight your project partner during a meeting.

13. Involve them in something you care about.

It says a lot about your respect and value for someone when you ask for their input in an important decision. Although it seems insignificant, it represents one of the highest forms of gratitude.

14. Bring them a meal.

Preparing healthy meals can be challenging, especially if you’re overworked or stressed. Or, maybe they’re the 90 percent of Americans who don’t like to cook. I mean, who wouldn’t like to get a surprise lunch or dinner from you?

Besides, homecooked meals are healthier and cheaper.

15. Give a hug.

Hugs are a great way to make a genuine connection with those you love and are thankful for in your life. After all, hugs have been found to:

  • Throughout the day, hugs can reduce stress.
  • Boost our immune system.
  • A lower heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Reduce depression.

16. Make a list of the things you like most about them.

How would you describe your most supportive friends or family members? Do they have a generous nature? Are they honest and trustworthy? It may be that they are great listeners or encouragers.

It doesn’t matter what traits they possess that make you appreciate them the most — tell them that.

With that in mind, in a text or an email, listing the traits you admire about them acknowledges their support.

17. Take an interest in what they’re passionate about.

Does your spouse, friend, or co-worker have a passion for something? Take the time to learn about it and try to understand what appeals to you about it.

Again, this is one of the best ways to show that you care about your partner is to show an interest in their interests. And, who knows? Maybe you’ll discover a new hobby or favorite band.

18. Keep a jar of gratitude.

Give that special person a gratitude jar filled with notes and let them read one a day when they need encouragement.

It’s another simple and budget-friendly idea. However, it can also be extremely powerful. Consider how it would feel to know that you are appreciated every day.

19. Send your congratulations.

As the saying goes: “Humble in victory, gracious in defeat.”

Demonstrate a high character level regardless of whether you succeed or fail, because others will notice and appreciate it. Good sportsmanship is a valuable lesson to learn in life.

So even if you don’t win your fantasy football league or get passed over for a promotion, offer your sincere congratulations to someone who has achieved something.

20. Offer words of encouragement.

While encouragement usually involves boosting confidence or believing in oneself, an affirmation can also be used to encourage others. If your neighbor surprised you by trimming the bush that separates your yards, thank them for their hard work.

Another way to show encouragement? You can use phrases like “You did a great job!” or “Very impressive!” Or even tell them what they’ve encouraged you to do.

21. Create a playlist of songs that mean something to you both.

Studies have shown that music promotes our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. As a result, it can improve our mood, our productivity, and concentration, as well as help us sleep better.

Furthermore, music can transport us back in time, calming our worried minds and boosting our spirits.

22. Display their gifts.

Has someone been kind enough to give you a gift? Use the gift to show your appreciation. For example, wear the clothes in their presence or display their craft on your desk.

23. Take them by surprise.

Leave a note on their pillow, place their favorite snack on their desk, or give them a small gift to express your gratitude. After all, birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays aren’t the only occasions for surprises. Creating little surprises every day says, “I appreciate you, and I’m thinking of you.”

24. Learn from them and share it with them.

Describe the valuable lessons you learned from your parents or mentor and express your gratitude. As a result of this simple gesture, they will be so proud that they have passed on their wisdom and knowledge.

25. Bring your talents to the table.

Alternatively, if you are skilled at scrapbooking, money management, or resume writing, you can help others.

Our talents, after all, bring us joy when we use them. Feeling good about our abilities is a good thing. So, let’s unleash and share them and enjoy the journey.

26. Become a support system for others.

Support people, regardless of their differences, when they need it. By doing this, you can strengthen relationships and improve everyone’s well-being.

However, to protect your valuable time and well-being, you need to set boundaries. If you’re at work, for instance, you can’t stop what you’re doing to talk to a friend. During your break, you can call them instead.

27. Pay it forward.

Buy a coffee for the person behind you whenever you buy a coffee. If there is someone behind you in line, you should add $5 to your drive-through bill. If you are traveling, drop a few extra coins at the toll booth.

Since people believe that one good deed is worth another, acts of kindness have proven to exponentially build in a community. In a sense, then, “paying it forward” can make the world a better place.

28. Organize a gathering for your family and friends.

You don’t have to have a reason to invite your closest family and friends to an event to thank them for what they’ve done.

What if you’re on a tight budget? The author of Life Is What You Bake It, Vallery Lomas, keeps it simple for under $25. Her mushroom risotto is served with some roasted asparagus, and she opens a bottle of wine for each guest to enjoy with their meal.

“Trader Joe’s Two-Buck Chuck is a great value,” she says. “When you’re cooking, you don’t have to worry about if a wine is super tasty, but I had a glass—and who’s going to turn down wine?”

As long as you are within this budget, she suggests saying yes if your guests want to bring something. “Welcome just about anything to add to the meal,” she says. “Dessert would be awesome, or another bottle of wine.”

29. Stay in touch.

All of us live busy, stressful lives, so it is extra special to remember to talk to a friend from time to time. You can easily show your appreciation to them by doing this.

I’d also add that you never know what will happen. You may keep putting off that text or email until tomorrow. But, then, you forget. From personal experience, I can tell you that this is a terrible feeling if something were to happen to them. Last year, I had a childhood friend pass away suddenly. I still wish I had sent that text I kept putting off.

30. Give a helping hand to someone in need.

Helping a stranger can be rewarding, even though it is riskier now than it was decades ago. One idea is until the tow truck arrives, at least hang around nearby until you can change the tire.

Of course, whenever you feel a “weird vibe” or something else that makes you laugh, trust your gut and leave. If you don’t express gratitude immediately, you can always do so later.

31. Provide them with the care they need.

If they’re running late at school, take their aging parents to a doctor’s appointment, or take of their dog when they’re on vacation, they’ll appreciate the help. Extend your love to their family as a way to show them how much you appreciate and love them as a friend.

32.  Apologize.

Be willing to say you’re sorry regardless of how angry you get or how right you are. In life, you must be willing to compromise. According to a saying, “You can either be right or happy.”

Plus, no one can guarantee tomorrow, as I already mentioned.

33. Be respectful of their time.

What is the best way to honor someone and show your appreciation? Be respectful of their time.

That means if you’re meeting for lunch at noon, ensure you’re at the restaurant by then. Do you have a meeting scheduled for 3 o’clock this afternoon? Ensure that it begins on and end on time.

It’s important to remember that anyone who spends time with you or on you is giving you something they cannot get back. This is quite literally their most precious gift. They are choosing to share some of it with you. Be respectful of this precious gift.

34. Spread positivity.

Emotions are contagious, according to research. Positive energy and sincere smiles spread positivity and kindness. It’s just as likely that your bad mood will spread to your people as the flu will.

It is up to you to make a choice each day. You can either be a germ or a powerful shot of vitamin C.

You can have a positive impact on your family, friends, or colleagues when you choose to be positively contagious. In turn, you will be remembered for how you made people feel, not for what you said.

35. When you receive good service, tip well.

Don’t forget to tip people in the service industry when you receive good service. Most often, it is an unappreciated, low-paying job.

Additionally, tipping benefits both givers and receivers. An overall feeling of engagement and helpfulness can be fostered through deliberate acts of kindness. As a result, it makes us feel good.

36. Make a video that’s cute, funny, or heartwarming.

A video is a great way to express your appreciation to someone — especially if distance is an issue. In addition, it can be something the other person can keep forever and can refer to from the heart or add some humor to it.

Also, don’t be afraid to say thank you for what someone has done or who they are.

37. Visit the elderly or sick.

Get to know those who may have no one else to turn to. For example, everyone can benefit from a Saturday morning visit to the nursing home or hospital sick ward. Imagine how your physical health might deteriorate when you’re elderly.

38. Send them a care package.

Care packages are a great way to express appreciation. It doesn’t matter if a care package contains homemade treats or a few store-bought items; even the simplest care package communicates, “Thank you! ”

39. Continually be kind, patient, and gracious.

Often, we take for granted those closest to us. When dealing with coworkers or strangers, we can show kindness, patience, and restraint, while letting down our guard when dealing with friends and family.

By being kind, patient, and grateful for their time and essence, we can show our appreciation for these close friends and family members.

40. Donate to a charity.

Researchers have found that giving usually makes people feel happy, even if it involves some sacrifice. Additionally, it has been shown that happy people are more likely to give.

Why? The brain releases endorphins when altruistic behavior is performed. It produces a positive feeling called the “helper’s high.”

So, whether it’s a monetary donation or giving away some of the possessions you no longer use, don’t be afraid to share what you have with those you love and those less fortunate.

41. Purchase a mindful or practical gift.

Is that person a voracious reader? Get a copy of the book they love, and write a note of gratitude in between the pages, or tuck a gratitude letter in between.

You can also find out where they like to eat or shop and give them a gift card to take advantage of it. Alternatively, give them tickets for the latest movie or musical, or to their favorite sports team.

You could also be more practical. You could, for instance, hire someone to mow the grass. Making their life easier with a practical gift shows you care.

42. Don’t neglect your own self-care.

To be your best self for those in your life, you must take care of yourself. Going to therapy, exercising, or following through on your own commitments can all be part of this process.

Or, to put it another way, everyone who has flown knows the saying, “In the event of a sudden drop in pressure, an oxygen mask will drop from above. Secure your own mask first before assisting others.” Self-care is about taking care of our own well-being first.

43. Keep a gratitude journal.

“Establish a daily practice in which you remind yourself of the gifts, grace, benefits, and good things you enjoy,” says Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., world-renowned gratitude expert. “Setting aside time on a daily basis to recall moments of gratitude associated with ordinary events, your personal attributes, or valued people in your life gives you the potential to interweave a sustainable life theme of gratefulness.”


What Is gratitude?

Thankfulness and appreciation are positive emotions that are associated with physical and mental health. The feeling of gratitude is expressed through generosity, kindness, and warmth toward those around you.

There are many different meanings to gratitude, depending on how it is used.

“In general terms, gratitude stems from the recognition that something good happened to you, accompanied by an appraisal that someone, whether another individual or an impersonal source, such as nature or a divine entity, was responsible for it,” explain researchers Lúzie Fofonka Cunha, Lucia Campos Pellanda, and Caroline Tozzi Reppold in a 2019 article published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

How does gratitude benefit us?

Some mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, may be caused by negative or unhelpful thought patterns.

A key principle of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is identifying and changing people’s unhelpful thoughts and cognitive distortions.

As a cognitive distortion, gratitude can be considered positive. By expressing gratitude, you redirect your attention away from the negative aspects of life and toward the people, places, things, and experiences that enrich your life.

In addition, expressing gratitude to others can boost your mood.

What are gratitude gifts?

The act of gift-giving can be viewed as a reciprocal practice, where expressing gratitude after receiving a benefit is a moral duty.

Rather than thinking of it as a ‘debt of gratitude,’ we should see it as a way to cultivate social support, which benefits both individuals and society.

It doesn’t need to be of material value to show gratitude; just a thoughtful and personal expression is enough.

In the end, a gift that they can keep and treasure will remind them of their positive emotions.

How does a gratitude challenge work?

A person who cultivates and consciously participates in gratitude is more patient, makes better decisions, develops better relationships, and feels more positive and optimistic.

A 21-day gratitude challenge. For example, it is a great way to jumpstart your gratitude journey if you want to gain more enjoyment from life.

We cultivate gratitude through the gratitude challenge by actively seeking out all the good things in our lives and expressing our gratitude.

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Managing Editor
Deanna Ritchie is a managing editor at Due. She has a degree in English Literature. She has written 2000+ articles on getting out of debt and mastering your finances. She has edited over 60,000 articles in her life. She has a passion for helping writers inspire others through their words. Deanna has also been an editor at Entrepreneur Magazine and ReadWrite.

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